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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

OPINION, IDEOLOGY, AND BIRTH CONTROL                                                     557
of the international division of labor in which nation and people are exploited for the benefit of the U.S. ruling class" (79). One means of escaping such oppression is through power over the childbearing function, or freedom from the penalties of childbearing. In a recent lengthy article in a new left publication, writers Kathy McAfee and Myrna Wood wrote,
All women are oppressed and exploited sexually. For working class women this oppression is more direct and brutal. They are denied control of their own bodies, when as girls they are refused information about sex and birth control, and when as women they are denied any right to decide whether and when to have children.
The writers recommend the dissemination of birth control information in high schools, liberal abortion reform, and the provision of maternity leaves and child care facilities so that working class women can "free themselves from slavery as sex objects and housewives" (80).
In the June, 1969, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Conference in Chicago, controversy over the female liberties issue was heated, not only between the Progressive Labor Party (PLP) wing and the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) but also between factions of the latter. The PLP sees the working class struggle as the dominant issue and insists that black liberation and female liberation must have a class character, not a race or sex character. They maintain that male chauvinism is a product of capitalistic exploitation of female workers. This group was expelled from the Conference. The "RYM 2" faction gave more emphasis to female and black liberation movements, both as a way of increasing the consciousness of the working class and as desirable in their own right. In a statement of five principles presented to the Conference, Point II read, in part, as follows:
. . . The proletariat cannot achieve complete freedom without achieving complete freedom for women. The struggle for women's liberation is a powerful force against U.S. imperialism. We are dedicated to fighting male supremacy, to destroying the physical and spiritual oppression of women by men, and to the achievement of full equality for women in every sphere of life. . . . We support the struggle of women for control over their bodies, and demand the removal of all legal and financial restrictions on abortion, and the provision of free birth control for those women who desire it. (81)
Arguing for the primacy of the women's movement, a WITCH representative echoed the Reichian point of view: "The basic unity of women's oppression is the home, and the family is the basic unit of imperialism" (82). Thus, if women are exploited as workers, she argued, this exploitation is aified by prewar Germany and Italy, and brought out so clearly in Altamirano's fears of "regimentation of the womb"ight holder.